Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
If you’re a parent, you’re probably not surprised that, nearly 50% of adults still rely on their parents for money. Setting up your kids with a good head for finances from a young age will give them a head start as adults – and means they’re less likely to keep dipping into your wallet when they’re grown up!
It’s a scary thought, but never underestimate your kids’ own ability to make money themselves. It’s amazing what some of them can do with a bit of encouragement. After all, why shouldn’t you turn your ‘cost centres’ into ‘profit centres’?
Some kids seem to have it naturally. Like my brother. Always the smooth operator. He used to attract cash from our old lady neighbours any time he went on holiday, started school, won something, or just looked cute. Sickening.
Me, I had to actually work for my money, at least by the time I got to university. I supplemented my non-existent income by doing tests for the Psychology department (£10 a time), selling things to second hand shops (not nearly enough) and making ballgowns (£50 a time). I even had a men’s hair cutting business (£2 a time). There was no experience in hairdressing, just a big pair of scissors and a bad attitude. In fact, if you’d like a short back and sides, I still have the scissors…
At MoneyMagpie.com we regularly get requests from children, for ideas on how they can make money. Sometimes rather heart-warmingly it’s to raise money for charity, not just to spend on sweets, games or, increasingly, spray tan.
Some offer their own ideas too. “Start a mafia” was a suggestion from ‘Tony’. An erudite comment from ‘Blake’ pointed out that although our idea of ‘buying drinks and sweets and reselling them for a profit at school’ was good, he added that “my catchment area precludes this as a viable business opportunity”. Quite.
Parents also joined in. John Burns mentioned (perhaps not entirely seriously) that “You say you should encourage your kids to get jobs. I encouraged my son to get a paper-round. It was so successful that after three weeks he was head-hunted by another family and we haven’t seen him since“
Find out how kids can make money in this article. But paper rounds, washing neighbours cars and even dog-walking (£15 per dog per hour would you believe?) are still not quite enough for the most ambitious of parents.
Let’s be candid here: the holy grail, the quiet, desperate hope of most parents, is that somehow the ankle-biters will, sooner or later (ideally sooner), magic up a serious money-maker that will keep mum and dad in the manner to which they would like to become accustomed.
It doesn’t help that, with surprising regularity now, the press will report on yet another pre-pubescent kidpreneur who makes us all feel like a failure with their brilliant new start-up. They come up with their own ‘vintage’ sweets, invent marvellous equipment to help family members and, now, have their own million-dollar YouTube channel that they present with frightening assurance.
They don’t always turn out right, though. Little entrepreneur, Taylor Rosenthal, at 14 years-old was CEO (yes, CEO) of RechMed. The company was supposed to produce vending machine to sell basic first aid supplies at sports venues. He raised $100,000 seed money to develop the idea and the company! But a couple of years after he and his parents started, they found that the man who set them up in his incubator was a fraudster. They lost the money they had invested and poor Taylor got a very early lesson in the cut-throat nature of much of the business world.
Don’t let it stop you encouraging your child to bring that cash in, though. A managed failure early on can teach them – and you – more than any number of successes can do.